Can A Combined Global Effort Stop ISIS?

Nov 23, 2015

In the wake of the attack on Paris that left 130 dead, many are concerned that ISIS has shifted its focus toward global aggression rather than the insurgency in Iraq and Syria.  University of Pittsburgh associate professor and terrorism expert Michael Kenney has analyzed the situation in the Middle East and addressed the potential effectiveness of a global coalition fighting ISIS.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As Syria continues to be shattered by its civil war, the U.S. and Russia are at odds about the best strategy to stabilize the nation and neutralize ISIS. While The Islamic State and other extremist organizations add to the complexity of the conflict, there are many questions to be answered. What are Moscow's goals in Syria? Should the U.S. play a more active role? We'll put those question to Dr. Colin P. Clarke, Associate Political Scientist for the RAND Corporation.

Lionel Cironneau / AP

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks and several American states saying they will not accept Syrian refugees, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto remained steadfast in keeping the city open to those fleeing their homeland. 

What's Next For Syria, Russia And The U.S.?

Oct 14, 2015
Alexei Nikolsky / AP Images

Mark Katz, George Mason University Russian and Eurasian Studies professor, joined Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer to discuss Russia’s recent bombing campaign in Syria.

Although the bombings seemed surprising, Katz said he thinks the intelligence community saw signs that this was going to happen.

“When the people up on top are distracted, or simply don’t want something to happen, there’s a tendency not to see or hear these signals,” he said. “So I would imagine that when the history of it is written, that there will have been several points in which warning was made but was ignored.”

America's Role in Global Conflicts

Sep 11, 2013
Lawrence Jackson /

Last night the President made his case for retaliation in Syria, in response to the chemical attack on August 21st, in the suburbs of Damascus.

Although he stated that he was willing to try diplomacy one last time, President Obama said Bashar Assad’s act of terrorism should not go unanswered.

“The President made a strong case and he laid out his reasons, but I don’t think that it swayed many people despite the fact that he made the best case that he possibly could,” says Dr. Taylor Seybolt, Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Syrian American Medical Society / Facebook

Dr. Basel Termanini, Syrian American Medical Society Pittsburgh Chapter President, was born and grew up in Aleppo, Syria. Dr. Termanini has lived in Pittsburgh for 16 years and has visited his home country almost every summer with his family.

During his most recent visits, he says security and government corruption have been worse than ever before. Dr. Termanini feels much more comfortable in areas that are not controlled by the Syrian government. One of the biggest problems Syrian citizens face is government issued air strikes at medical facilities.

Diocese of Pittsburgh to Honor Saturday as 'Day of Prayer for Peace'

Sep 6, 2013

Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop Zubik will celebrate mass Saturday to honor Pope Francis’ proclamation of a universal day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria.

The crisis in Syria has been making headlines ever since an alleged chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb. U.S. and U.K. intelligence reports blame the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad for the attack and indicate that more than 1,400 people were killed, including at least 426 children.

As President Obama seeks congressional authorization for a limited military strike in Syria, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) lauded the administration's move to debate the issue with other lawmakers.

But Casey also said that he believed the president has the legal authority to conduct a strike without getting the go-ahead from Congress. He also said he thinks Obama should take action, regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C.

"I think he should act," Casey said.

Senator Casey Says US Needs To Take Action in Syria

Sep 3, 2013
Senator Bob Casey

As classified congressional briefings continue today, Pennsylvania US Senator Bob Casey says he has no doubt that Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against Syrian citizens.

Casey is a member of the National Security Working Group and thinks the United States needs to take an aggressive approach with Assad, by targeting the assets which allow Syria to maintain its military superiority in the region.

Are We Ready to Take on Another War?

Aug 29, 2013
Freedom House / Flickr

Discussion about the need for military intervention in Syria continues in Washington as President Obama and Congress explore options for the United States.

The Syrian government is under scrutiny for using chemical weapons against its own people while trying to dispel rebels amidst their civil war.

Former U.S. Ambassador and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Dan Simpson thinks the American military should stay out of the Syrian conflict.